Art Deco Special Event. October 30th, 2008. 7:00 p.m. On the evening of 30 October 1938, radio listeners in the New York area turned on their sets to hear a program of popular music. However, newsbreaks that interrupted the programming told of a horrific battle being waged by aliens who had landed from Mars. The ensuing panic on the eastern seaboard became one of the country's largest outbreaks of mass hysteria, and public reaction in the following days ranged from bravos to brickbats.
The source of the panic was an inventive radio play produced by the Mercury Theatre Company and its 23-year old director, Orson Welles. Although the program was identified as a radio drama based upon the novel War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, the realistic effect of the use of the newscast format fooled many listeners into believing it was real.
Did Welles deliberately and irresponsibly create a dangerous regional panic, or did he skillfully expose a gullible public that believed everything that was labeled "news"? Come listen to the original broadcast from seventy years ago to make your own determination. Free admission.
Miami Design Preservation League
Art Deco Education Center at Historic City Hall
1130 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139